Pop Culture Blind Spot: Dirty Dancing

Warm up those hips and grab a watermelon because it’s time for another installment of Pop Culture Blind Spot!  And today we’re heading back to family summer camp and celebrating Dirty Dancing, which was released on this day exactly 30 years ago. Even after three decades, the movie still holds up. Let’s dive right in and revisit one of the greatest movies that defined a generation.

Statements of note from the trailer:

“The heat is in the music. The music sets you dancing. The dancing sets her free.”

“She thought it would be just another summer vacation, but it turns out to be the time of her life.”

“What they learn from each other feels too good to be wrong.”

My knowledge of this movie: Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey do a lot of dancing. Kenny Ortega of High School Musical fame choreographed it. Kelly Bishop aka Emily Gilmore is also in it, but I always manage to forget this fact.

The reason I had never seen Dirty Dancing is from a lack of not wanting to see it. By nature, it should be a movie I love – romance, impressive dance sequences, drama, comedy. I just never got around to watching it. Thank God for Netflix, amirite, ladies? So here we are, almost 28 years to the day it was released on August 21st, 1987, and I’m sharing my thoughts with you on it for the very first time. Here goes nothing.

2:20 This movie takes place in 1963? Definitely did not know that. I thought it was just another 80s movie.

2:44 I remember that Kelly Bishop is in this movie. I know, I know. She’s a Tony Award winning actress of stage and screen, but to me she will forever and always be Emily Gilmore. And to quote the Gilmore Guys podcast, Bishop is Queen.

2:57 I knew there was greenery and cabin-looking structures in this movie, but I was not aware it takes place at a sleepaway camp for families. Does anyone go to this kind of camp anymore? Do these even exist?

3:24 The cars lining up to Kellerman’s camp legit looks like moving in day for freshman at my college.

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3:54 Is Newman from Seinfeld in this? [the answer is yes]

5:00 MAMA KELLY BISHOP IS SERVING IN THIS DANCE SCENE, DESPITE THE FACT THEY’RE SMUSHED TOGETHER LIKE A BUNCH OF SARDINES.

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7:20 I get Patrick Swayze now.

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7:55 “You just put your pickle on everybody’s plate, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to me.” – Johnny Castle, an employee at a Jewish family camp, definitely NOT a porn star.

9:00 Baby is set up with some doofus who is the camp owner’s grandson, a dude named Neil who is going to Cornell for Hotel Management. Meanwhile, Baby’s got her eyes on going to Mount Holyoke to study the economics of underdeveloped countries and then enter the Peace Corps. Obviously well matched.

10:30 Johnny Castle and the blonde dance instructor Penny take center stage at this dance Baby and Neil are at, clearly auditioning for whatever the version of Dancing with the Stars was in 1963. However, they get cockblocked by the owner Max who wants them to dance with the guests instead.

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13:37 After being forced to appear in a magic show and awarded a chicken for participation, Baby wanders into the staff quarters, which is a big no no. What a rebel.

14:30 Baby runs into a guy holding three huge watermelons, but they really just look like three prop pickles. There is no way he could carry three of those on his own. Come on.

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15:00 Baby enters the secret staff dance party where the literal Dirty Dancing is going down. Basically this type of dancing is grinding on top of your partner with no room for the holy spirit at all. Which I guess doesn’t matter for the employees of this Jewish camp.

17:00 This soundtrack is amazing, by the way. I’m a sucker for 60s/Motown era music. Still blown away that this takes place in 1963.

20:00 Johnny teaching Baby how to roll her hips is the most awkward. It’s like she’s about to drop a deuce right on the dance floor. (GOD HELP ME I NEVER WANT TO SAY DROP A DEUCE AGAIN)

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21:00 For some reason, an activity for the women at this camp is to try on wigs. What else is available at this camp – How To Cook A Proper Roast For Your Man or Top Tips For Cleaning Your Curlers?

25:00 Penny is pregnant. I was not aware there was a pregnancy twist in this film. Despite attempting to help a devastated Penny, she tells her to GTFO. And apparently the father of this baby is the asshole misogynistic server in the restaurant.

30:00 To remedy this, Baby asks her doctor dad Jerry Orbach for $300 to do a “non illegal” activity – aka she’s going to pay for Penny’s abortion??? This is a lot of money for someone she just met a day ago. Is she trying to prove something or is she just a good person? Or trying to prove she’s a good person?

33:42 Baby agrees to take Penny’s place in a dance competition since she’ll be recovering from her aforementioned abortion – is there really no one else qualified to take Penny’s place? A sub dance instructor at the camp, perhaps? Baby can barely roll her hips around, as we learned earlier. She’s worse than Julia Stiles learning hip-hop in Save The Last Dance.

37:00 Jennifer Grey is incredibly skinny. Penny is even skinnier. And the two skinny waists have a weird threesome with Johnny as they teach her how to dance. Uncomfy moment #3 – it’s the same feeling I get while watching ballroom trios on So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing With The Stars.

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38:00 The closeups on the gyrating hips – not for me. Uncomfy moment #4.

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I know I keep on bringing up Dancing With the Stars, but this B plot about Baby learning how to learn competitive-level dance is totally a parallel to DWTS. The fact that you have to pick up a foreign skill quickly then perform it under the (hungry) eyes of judges is just like in this movie. Which probably explains how she won season 11 of DWTS.

40:00 Johnny accidentally locks the keys to his car inside said vehicle, so he just straight up takes a pole out of the ground to smash his car window. With ease, he does this. It’s also raining, but it’s the fakest rain ever and the sun is shining like it’s 90 degree day, and all I can think is the rain machine is blowing the water horizontally at Patrick Swayze’s face. That handsome mug must be insured, this shouldn’t be happening to him.

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41:00 This balancing on a log practice could be problematic. That is a ravine right there. Maybe don’t risk your life when you could easily do this on a dance floor? Also, I’m supposed to be shipping this right?


43:00 Johnny takes Baby to a field and subsequently the famous lake, which is much better than a log in the middle of the forest. But why isn’t Baby’s family concerned about her whereabouts? She just disappeared from camp. Isn’t her sister wondering why Baby didn’t show up to Wig Class?

47:00 Baby has somehow aged 10 years with her costume for the competition. She now looks like a New York Housewife competing in DWTS.

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51:00 Uh oh. Penny’s not looking too hot after her shotty abortion. Baby comes to the rescue again by secretly getting her M.D. Dad to help her. Jerry Orbach (RIP) is quite the Doctor Detective. And quite upset with Baby’s interaction with the Dirty Dancing sexual deviants.

56:00 Welp Baby basically just confessed her love to Johnny. He’s already got his shirt off, so she asks him to dance… But on the real tho –  this sex dance scene is still hot.

1:00 Penny clearly picks up the sex vibes that Johnny and Baby are putting down, and she warns him not to get serious with Baby. Which of course, in 80s movie terms, he obviously is.

This outfit is the reason I keep forgetting the movie takes place in 1963. This could either be 1987 or 2015, who the hell knows.

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“What is with all this rain? Remind me not to have my honeymoon in Niagara Falls.” Baby’s sister

“So, you go to Acapulco, it’ll be fine!” – Queen Bishop

1:04 Baby and Johnny can’t stop boning. She’s technically a teenager, right? Since she’s “planning” to go to Mount Holyoke? Johnny’s obviously the type to skip college in favor of living out his dreams of being a camp dance instructor, so is this forbidden love even more forbidden?

1:07 Oh hey, a scene I actually have scene before. This makes sense in context now. Before I thought it was just some weirdo lip syncing to a song.

1:09 Neil, the annoying grandson, is like the Patrice of this movie. He wants Johnny to dance the Pachanga for the final show, and Johnny’s response is one that made me legit LOL: “He wouldn’t know a good idea if it hit him in the Pachanga” 1:12 Johnny’s bad boy side comes out when asshole waiter sees him kissing Baby, and the scene is like a fight between the Jets and the Sharks.

1:13 Baby’s sister singing I cannot.

1:18 There’s some side plot about Johnny’s cougar dance client setting him up as a kid who stole her husband’s wallet, but Baby comes to his defense by providing an alibi that he was with her at the time of the alleged theft. Not really important.

1:19 Baby goes to confront her upset father about basically admitted she slept with Johnny, and the whole conversation looks like a scene from The Bachelor when one of the final girls meets the bachelor’s dad for the first time to talk about how in love they are with their son.

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1:22 Johnny’s heading out of town because of all the “trouble” he’s caused, and as he rides away, She’s Like the Wind plays in the background. Yes, the hit song by Patrick Swayze. TOO META. BTW, what exactly is Johnny’s accent? And does he not look like The Terminator in this scene?

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1:26 This camp has its own theme song. This is just such a foreign culture to me that I’m having a difficult time believing it’s real. This tune is a cross between a traditional hymn and one of those camp songs you hear in like Troop Beverly Hills.

1:29 Ah yes, the iconic “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” scene. In my head she was in a literal corner of a room, sitting in a chair as if she had been punished. In addition, Johnny was gone for like 2 hours they’re all acting like it’s been years. ALSO Queen Bishop looks so hot rn!

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1:30 So here’s my problem with Baby and Johnny dancing to Time of My Life – it’s a song that was made in the 1980s, but supposed to be set for a performance in 1963. This is why I’m confused. However, I will say that this song in context also makes so much more sense with the movie. Oh, and how did Johnny coordinate a flash mob so fast??

“I think she gets this from me.” KELLY FREAKING BISHOP

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There are some interesting characters in the crowd, including the guy who predicted wearing sunglasses at night long before Corey Hart, the band leader dancing with Penny, and the two larger women happily dancing with each other. The movie ends with a pan out on the dance floor, with a spotlight on Baby and Johnny DIRTY DANCING. Bless. Also, it’s very reminiscent of the High School Musical 3 finale, because as you remember, Kenny Oretga is a mastermind of both these epic films.

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(Previously posted in August, 2015)

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Pop Culture Blind Spot: Ghost

In honor of it being October and all, I figured my Pop Culture Blind Spot should be Halloween appropriate, hence, Ghost… Get it? This is the movie where they’re all dressed like this, right?

JK, I’m not that dumb.

I somehow missed out on a bunch of hit 80s/early 90s movies, as evidenced from my last post about Dirty Dancing (am I secretly on a Patrick Swayze binge? Maybe). But Ghost was also re-brought to my attention recently after listening to Aisha Tyler’s Girl on Guy podcast from May, when she interviews America’s favorite philandering fictional president, Fitzgerald Grant, aka Tony Goldwyn. If you have 2 hours to spare and are a Scandal/Fitz fan, you should probs listen to this (interview is here!). So they obviously discussed his role in Ghost, and I remembered that I haven’t actually seen the movie. Weirdly enough, my first real introduction was in the form of the musical adaptation during the national tour last year.

Prior to seeing the musical, I knew this about Ghost: Patrick Swayze is a ghost who maybe was dating Demi Moore and comes back to haunt her? Fitz from Scandal is the bad guy and Whoopi has a miscellaneous part.

And although I saw the musical recently, my knowledge is scant, Whoopi is a psychic and someone gets shot? Lit’rally saw it a year ago but don’t really remember what happened. I also figured the musical is a bit different from the OG movie.

So here we go – first time watching Ghost for real real – my body is ready for you young Fitz. (It’s on Netflix Instant if you want to follow along!)

Title credits are happening as the camera pans over a dark and dusty attic. It’s already more freaky sounding than I thought? It’s like the precursor to the Are You Afraid of the Dark? intro.

how

:03 TONY GODWYN ABS MAN HAS NOT CHANGED ALSo that was a typo. I somehow skipped the ‘L’ in Goldwyn but that’s gonna stay that way moving forward.

:05 The office office looks like Sterling Cooper in the 1980s. Patrick Swayze is Jon Hamm and Tony Godwyn is Pete Campbell. Except way hotter

:07 For some reason, they’re lifting an angel up into their apartment (FORESHADOWING??)

Forgot Demi’s name is Molly, and suddenly remembered the Molly, You in Danger Girl GIF. V excited about seeing its origin.

:10 Sam (PSwayze) is looking a little concerned, and tells Molly, “Whenever anything good in my life happens, I’m just afraid I’m gonna lose it.” More foreshadowing?!

:12 Even for 1990 that record player looks super futuristic.
 Ah yes, the pottery scene. I get why people think this is sexy but I’m just thinking how messy this is going to be and what a pain it’s going to be to clean up.

Wait they went from the pottery tutorial straight to having sex in the middle of their living room! But their hands are clean!!

:15 LOL at these old DOS screens Sam and Carl (T Godwyn) are using at work. How did we ever get stuff done on those things? Also, why type of company is this? A run-of-the-mill financial firm? I think I missed something.

Knowing Godwyn is the villain is totally changing how I’m watching him in this movie, because I’m looking for hints to his evilness now (this is along the same lines of why I hate spoilers). Per his interview with Aisha Tyler, Tony was recalling how during his audition, he was playing the Carl role as a sympathetic nice guy, but the director didn’t want him to do that, insisting that the viewers need to know he’s evil. But Tony argued, “‘I’m not doing that. You have to invest the audience in this character and make them hopefully fall in love with them and then the betrayal will be that much worse. You want to make them believe that I’m their (Molly & Sam’s) friend’. So I stuck to my guns and (director) Jerry was like, ‘You were right.'”

:19 Sam: “I say I love you all the time”, Molly: “No, you say Ditto.”

After seeing Macbeth on Broadway (Sam fell asleep), they walk home and talk about getting married when a guy appears from the shadows and attempts to rob Sam at gunpoint. Sam tries to retaliate and the mugger ends up shooting and subsequently killing him.

OK BUT ALSO why were you guys walking on a street with no street lights and at a leisurely pace late at night what did you think was gonna happen also how is it possible there’s no one out IT’S THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS.

:21 The blood looks so fake? There’s also a lot of it, but they take Sam to the hospital anyways.
:25 This old guy shows up to the hospital like hes been trolling the place forever and said of a guy doctors are attending to in the ER, ‘He’s not gonna make it. I’ve seen it a million times.’ What is the quality of this hospital?

Omg the special effects are like the magic school bus level when someone goes through Sam

:29 Molly & Sam’s cat just screamed and ran away after looking into Ghost Sam’s eyes. Nine lives and all, amirite?

:31 The mugger sneaks into Molly and Sam’s apartment looking for something, but let’s get down to it – why is there is so much crime in NY rn?

Molly comes back in and he sneakily watches her change her clothes. What a perv. GS manages to leverage the cat to jump and scratch the mugger, and he escapes because, he ain’t messin with no cat.

Molly hears noises (the mugger leaving her gd apartment) and says, “Is somebody there? Hello” YES SOMEONE’S THERE LOCK YOUR DOORS THERE IS CRIME

Well there’s one pro to being a ghost: free subway rides.

:35 This dude just attacks Ghost Sam because it’s “his train”??? Get a grip. Can’t a ghost just ride the train freely?

:38 Ghost Sam spots what I assume is Whoopi’s storefront as “Spiritual Advisor” who contacts the “dearly departed”. Is this the same thing as Long Island Medium?

This entire scene looks like a set up to steal customer Mrs. Santiago’s money. I mean look at Oda Mae’s outfit 
Also shouldn’t she be feeling the presence of Ghost Sam in the room? I wrote this script, it’s fine.

:44 “Are you white? It’s a white guy!” Oda Mae, getting to the bottom of things.

:47 Ghost Sam sings obnoxious diddies as a way to get Oda Mae to visit Molly so he can talk through her, including I’m Henry The Eighth I Am and 99 Bottles of Beer. Yup, he’s definitely white.

To be fair, both Molly & Oda Mae have vaild points in this – Molly doesn’t want to believe her dead boyfriend is talking through a rando “spiritual advisor”, while Oda Mae just wants to get this white guy out of her head.

:53 MOLLY – YOU IN DANGER, GIRL! I’M DYING THIS SCENE IS AMAZING I GET WHY WHOOPI WON AN OSCAR

Guys, Tony Goldwyn is SO HOT in this movie I cannot. But also, he hired this dude to steal Sam’s wallet but ended up murdering him? All for $80,000? Hope it was worth it.  Also how did Carl even get in contact with Willie Lopez?? Craigslist on the DOS?

1:06 Molly finds the penny in a jar Sam found the first day they were tearing down the apartment and smashes it to bits. RIP Sam. RIP lucky singular penny in a jar.

1:08 For selfish reasons, I would like to see Tony Godwyn in a sex scene right now, but preferably not with Molly because that would be horrible.

look at that face. look at that chest.

AS SOON AS I STOPPED TYPING THAT Carl purposefully spills HOT coffee on his shirt as an excuse to take it off and flaunt himself in front of Molly I’m dead. *Not as dead as Ghost Sam I asked for it and it started happening and I’m not okay with it. I just – what if Kerry Washington showed up and there was an Olitz scene I’d be fine with that. I’ve been watching too much Scandal.

1:12 Sam’s back on the train and sticking his head through the train in a hilarious fashion

Train Ghost is teaching him how to move objects.

“YOU AIN’T GOT A BODY NO MORE, SON” – Train Ghost, channeling Alexander Hamilton in Meet Me Inside

1:20 All the ‘spooks’ are in Oda Mae’s office because they somehow heard she can actually channel the dead. Some ghost named Orlando takes over Oda Mae’s body and Whoopi is killing it as this 50ish year old black guy. It’s legit as if this dude took over her body, it’s fantastic.

1:23 Ode Mae’s “I have a formal meeting at the bank to pass as someone who looks like they normally go to these meetings” outfit is *on fleek* 

Ghost Sam is instructing Oda Mae to get money out of some account before Carl can get to it and it requires him talking through her again and I would watch a spin off this if I could

1:30 Ghost Sam forces Oda Mae to give the $4 mil to some nuns, prompting her to say the second best quote in the movie:

Oda Mae Brown: I know you don’t think I’m giving this 4 million dollars to a bunch of nuns!
Sam: Think of it this way, you’ll go to Heaven.
Oda Mae Brown: I don’t want to go to Heaven, I want to go to the bank and cash a GODDAMN CHECK!

Carl checks on his account that he’s planning on swindling money from and he freaks out bc it’s not there and he’s literally sweating trying to find out where the money went

1:35 HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Carl is BUGGIN because Ghost Sam is haunting him, so he goes to Molly’s apartment, covered in sweat.

Molly Jensen: Carl, are you all right?
Carl Bruner: It’s just my stomach! Do you have anything like Pepto Bismol or something like that?
Sam Wheat: Cyanide!

Thanks to Train Ghost, Ghost Sam has mastered the art of touch animate objects, including people, so he pokes around at Carl, who looks like he could vom at any second. GS continues to punch Carl and even though I’ve never seen Roadhouse, I imagine it’s akin to this. Maybe that will be my next PCBS (Pop Culture Blind Spot), seeing as how I’m apparently on a Swayze streak.

1:39 Arsenio Hall cameo! 
“Don’t try to adjust your television, I’m black!” There’s a lot of race talk in this movie, which is interesting. I didn’t think that would be a recurring theme in Ghost.

1:41 Willie and Carl come looking for Oda Mae but she manages to escape. Willie on the other hand can’t escape Ghost Sam. He makes the books and art on the wallpapered walls come down towards Willie and they end up in the bathroom, where GS leaves Willie a sweet message:

And Willie decides to shoot at the mirror, because that will do the trick. Oh and Willie is dead. In a horrific accident that includes four vehicles, one of which runs him over. He becomes a ghost and sees Ghost Sam for the first time. All of a sudden what sounds like zombies are coming for Willie, then I realize he’s probs being taken off to hang with the Dev.

1:46 Oda Mae is still trying to get Molly to believe Ghost Sam is speaking to her, so he manages to “levitate” a penny (aka pick it up with his finger and hand it to her), but still, the 1990s special effects still make me laugh.

1:49 Oda Mae lets Sam take over her body a la Orlando from earlier and they cut it so Demi’s dancing with PSwayze to Unchained Melody and I might be crying a little

Ugh Cock Block Carl comes in during this tender moment, and Molly and Oda start running away from him, because he wants the check from Oda Mae, which as you remember, is being spent by those nuns from the street.

Yo Carl calm da fuq down, why do you have a gun and why are you trying to shoot at a ghost you can’t see??

For some reason, there’s still a lot of construction going on in their building, and their chase leads Ghost Sam and Carl to a part of the place where there is a hanging rope with a giant metal hook at the end, which Carl swings into NOTHING because he can’t see Ghost Sam, but it rebounds a second time, making glass from the window fall down onto Carl and impale him in the gut. Carl basically inflicted this upon himself.

You know, Ghost isn’t really about the supernatural, it’s a cautionary tale about greed.™ Life Lessons with Cookies + Sangria.

As a surprise to no one, Carl dies and goes to be Willie’s pal with the Dev in Hell. The foley artists probably had a blast making these groaning sounds the zombies/dementors make when taking someone away.

1:58 Ghost Sam checks in on Oda Mae and Molly, and surprise, surprise, Molls can actually see and hear him – because he’s about to go into the light. They have a super awkward “kiss” before he goes away for good, and legit his last words to her are, “See ya.”


And with that I say, it’s been quite a ride, P Swayze & Tony Godwyn. until next time.